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Dot & Liz: 1939

Dot & Liz: 1939

May 1939. "Dorothy Smith and Elizabeth Atkinson setting table in home economics room in school building. Ashwood Plantations, South Carolina." Medium format negative by Marion Post Wolcott. View full size.


Ashwood Plantation School

Follow this link to read about the Ashwood Plantation Project, a program of FDR's New Deal.


Two girls in the Typing Pool post also are wearing sneakers. My guess is they probably has gym class that day.

Small table and not much legroom

at the table being set up.

Hitting all bases

It seems these women were taught to cook on different types of stoves (understandable, if it was an FSA program). At left you have a wood (or coal) stove, and to the right, a kerosene stove. These were briefly hailed throughout the South, as a way to cook in the summer months without heating up the entire house, but according to one source, they were abandoned en masse once gas or electric became available.

Then in the foreground, while not part of the curriculum, there are two different types of cabinetry. Jane Powell advises those restoring a period kitchen: "Here is a magic question to ask of potential cabinetmakers: 'Can you make flush inset doors?' If the reply is some variation on 'nobody makes those anymore,' then keep looking."

The sink cabinet has flush inset doors, while the cabinet in the foreground has the newer overlay doors, and a porcelain enamel countertop. The area under the sink is open because of an early 20th century superstition that proper sanitation required air flow around the sink plumbing.

Pre internet site

Liz Dot Nom


Really surprised that Dorothy is wearing a pair what looks to be an early version of Chuck Taylor style white high top sneakers. Although they had been on the market since around 1918, I didn't think these were foot ware wear of choice for young ladies back in the late 30s! Liz's choice of saddle shoes is not so surprising, since that style of shoe has come in and gone out fashion numerous time over the decades.

A resettlement project of the FSA

A project of the Farm Security Administration to resettle impoverished tenant farmers. The gymnasium of this school still exists on Ashwood School road, along US 15 south of Bishopville, SC.

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